Dating as a single mom comes with its own unique set of challenges and considerations.
If you’re a single mom who’s decided to begin dating again you’ll soon come to realize that dating is no longer as carefree and simple as it once was - not only are you now a different person with different needs and expectations post-baby, but you also have another human (or a few of them) to take into consideration.
Whether you’re looking for something long-term or just a fun night out, it’s important that you let go of that mom guilt that riddles so many moms and allow yourself to get out there and meet others.
There are many people in the same boat as you that have found what they’re looking for. Plus, with the convenience of online dating, finding people with similar interests has never been easier.
In this guide, we take a look at some of the things you should keep in mind when dating as a single mom as well as some of the things your partner should keep in mind if this is his first rodeo with a single mom.
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As mentioned, dating as a single mom comes with its own unique set of challenges and considerations, here are a couple of things to keep in mind if you’re hoping to start dating again.
If you don’t make dating a priority, the weeks, months, and years will fly by while you’re focusing on your children. As a mother, it’s important to take a step back and mark out time in your diary where you can indulge in things like self-care and dating.
If you don’t mark out time for yourself you might be left feeling burnt out, deflated, and maybe even resentful.
By scheduling time aside in your diary in advance, it gives you the opportunity to find a babysitter and get excited about going on a date. Planning is essential when dating as a single parent.
In my opinion, knowing what you want and what you’re looking for is the most important thing when it comes to dating and even more so when you’re a single mom.
My advice to other single parents is to sit down and make a list of everything you’re looking for in a partner and potential parent-figure to your child/children before you go on any dates. Knowing what you want will help save you time and, to an extent, might save you from heartache.
Despite what many believe, sometimes being a single mother actually puts less pressure on a relationship because you already have children and aren’t coming into a relationship under pressure to have kids ASAP. Once you realize that you already have your own little family there’s far less pressure to find someone to have a family with.
On the flip side of the coin, people who haven’t had children or found a partner in their 30s or 40s often feel a lot of pressure to get married and have children which can put the relationship under strain.
Before carving time out of your schedule and paying for a babysitter, try and get to know the person you’re going on a date with a little better. Communicate via text and phone calls, find out what the person’s dating goals are, what their likes and dislikes are, and if you have much in common.
Once you’ve established these factors you can then make a better decision about whether or not going on a date with them will be worth your while.
It’s usually a good idea to wait a while before introducing your partner to your children. Be sure of the person you’re dating and where your relationship is headed before allowing your children to meet them.
Regardless of how old your children might be, there’s a good chance they’ll form a bond with your partner and should things not work out your children will probably be affected.
Avoid dating people who don’t like children or don’t want children. It goes without saying that dating someone like this when you’re a single mother is likely to be disastrous and will only end up in heartbreak for most of the parties involved.
When you start chatting with your potential partner, make sure you let them know that you have children and ask them what their view and opinion on kids is.
If you fall for someone, it’s easy for the relationship to move at 100mph. However, it’s important to retain some balance. Even if you are head over heels in love, don't suddenly abandon your children and spend all your free time with your newfound love interest.
Not only will this make your children fearful that they’re losing you, but it’ll also give your partner a false impression about your time availability.
Moreso, it’s essential that you don’t rush things at the beginning of the relationship. Take your time getting to know the person, build up trust between the two of you, and make sure you’re building a strong relationship foundation.
Oftentimes, good relationships become derailed as a result of people rushing into things too quickly.
Mom guilt… every mother will know exactly what I’m talking about when I refer to mom guilt. We all carry it, no matter how well we are doing at mothering!
That being said, it’s so important to release your feelings of guilt and enjoy time out for yourself every once in a while. You can’t pour from an empty cup! And, yes, you are entitled to go out on as many dates as you like while your children are being taken care of. You deserve to find a special partner.
Also, if a relationship doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up about it, regardless of whether or not your children met your partner. Unfortunately, that’s life. Not everything works out as we hope for.
When bringing a new person into your family, it’s so important that you screen them properly, especially as a single mom! Not only do you have to protect yourself, physically, emotionally, and mentally, but you’re also the one who is responsible for your children’s well-being.
If you’re interested in someone make sure you’re asking the right questions, listening intently, and reading between the lines. If you have friends in common, ask your friends about your date and do as much background research as possible. And, lastly, trust your gut. If something feels off, it might just be.
For many single mothers, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that it’s impossible to find someone who will want to date you because you have children. There are many excuses we give ourselves as to why we are “undateable,” however, none of these are true.
Once you learn to accept and love yourself exactly as you are, dating becomes an easier, more pleasurable process and you’re likely to find someone better suited to you and your needs.
You need to value who you are as a single mom and the hours of sacrifice and commitment you put into mothering. It truly is honorable and not a role many would be able to undertake.
If you’ve started dating a single mom and want to make a good impression on her, here are a couple of things you should keep in mind.
If you’re dating a single parent, it’s very likely that she’s busy running a hundred errands at once and that you won’t get a reply immediately. It’s nothing personal and more than likely is no indication regarding her feelings for you, she is simply busier than you can imagine. Cut her some slack and wait for her reply.
If you’re dating a single parent, try and be as flexible as possible. Accept that from time to time she may run late, be more tired than usual, or occasionally need to reschedule dates.
Furthermore, due to the fact that her kids' lives will always need to be planned and accounted for, spontaneity might not be a possibility when it comes to last-minute trips away or spontaneous date nights.
Being a single parent can be a thankless job. She’s the one running the show day and night, by herself. So, if you want to get on a single mom’s good side, pop her a message every once in a while and let her know that she’s doing a great job. She’ll appreciate it more than you know.
One thing a single mom has very little of is time to herself, so if she’s sharing what little off-time she does have with you, make sure it’s worth her while. Small things can go a long way in this regard.
Things like making a reservation ahead of time, ordering her her favorite wine, or doing something with her that she loves to do are all great ways to ensure she enjoys her time with you. Another very thoughtful thing to do is to organize and pay for a babysitter for her children so she can enjoy some carefree time out with you.
Don’t waste her time, or yours. Have an upfront, open, and honest discussion about what both of you are looking for from a relationship. Respect that her time and availability are limited and that her children are her first priority so if you can’t be a good partner or provide her with what she’s looking for, let her know sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately, more often than not her kid’s lives are going to take first priority. It’s only natural and is something that should be admired.
So, if her child is sick or injured or needs her time and attention, a date with you is going to take a backseat. Accept this and expect that from time to time this will happen. A single mother will always see to her children’s needs before anyone else’s, including her own.
While there’s a lot to think about and consider when dating single mothers, it’s important that you don’t forget about yourself in the process. Take time to enjoy your own hobbies, see your own friends, indulge in self-care, and make yourself a priority from time to time.
Giving yourself the time you deserve will also make you a better partner in the long run.
It’s important to keep in mind that as a single parent, your partner is going to do whatever she can to protect her kids.
Don’t pressure her into meeting her kids, let her do it in her own time, as and when she feels comfortable. If you’re lucky enough to get photos and glimpses of her children’s lives over text from time to time, thank her for including you and feel honored that she has - it’s a massive deal for her!
Once you’re lucky enough to meet her children it’s important that you find ways to connect with them. Play with them, ask them questions about their lives, and ask your partner how you can help her out with the kids. She will appreciate your effort more than you know.
Plus, making an effort with her kids will earn you many brownie points *wink*.
As tempting as it might be to jump into a parenting role when you’re around your partner’s children it’s important that you remember that you aren’t their parent, especially in the early days.
Instead, find ways of providing emotional support for your partner while she parents her children to the best of her abilities. Let her know that you have her back and that if she needs advice, you’re there.
In time, as your relationship grows and develops, you’ll be able to take on more of a parental role. In the meantime, learn about your partner’s parenting style and find what parenting style works for you. Parenting style is inevitably something that’ll need to be discussed and compromised on in your relationship.
There are many ways you can meet other single or divorced parents. Make sure you start off by befriending the other parents at school, join hobby clubs, sign up on single-parent dating sites like Single Parent Match and SingleParentMeet, sign up on other popular dating sites like Tinder and Bumble and set your dating preferences to dating people with children.
This is relatively simple and would work the same way it would in a marriage, i.e. you can organize a babysitter, wait until the children are asleep, or simply lock the bedroom door when you and your partner are in the mood for some fun.
Dating a single mother isn’t necessarily any easier or more difficult than any other relationship, it’s simply different and comes with its own unique set of challenges. Things you might want to keep in mind are:
- Single moms will always put their children first and that’s a great attribute
- Single moms have limited time and availability
- She’s likely to be more honest about what she’s looking for from the get-go
- Dates will need to be planned in advance
I hope this guide has given you a better understanding of the ins and outs of dating as a single mother. If, on the other hand, you have fallen for a single mom, I hope this has given you some guidance on what to keep in mind and how you can win her over.
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